Critical dates concept Critical dates schedule
The Iowa DOT's Office of Contracts normally has a highway letting each month. These lettings give contractors the opportunity to bid on approximately 800 projects each year. These include interstate, primary and secondary road work, and maintenance projects. The Iowa DOT also lets most city projects that involve federal aid.
Prequalification of bidders
To be prequalified to bid, you need to submit a Contractor's Financial-Experience-Equipment Statement at least five days prior to the scheduled letting date. You can receive this statement by calling the Office of Contracts at 515-239-1414, or online at Iowa DOT Forms website.
The financial portion of this statement must be audited or reviewed by a certified public accountant if you plan to bid on projects that have a total cost that is more than $200,000. An audited or reviewed statement would allow bidding up to the maximum qualification amount based on a formula. A reviewed statement would limit bidding on individual contracts to $1 million. If you intend to bid on work estimated to cost less than $200,000, you may prepare the statement yourself.
Prequalification is not required on projects that involve furnishing materials, granular surfacing, lighting, buildings, salvage and removal, wells, traffic signals, pavement markings, or mowing. To submit bids on these types of projects, you must be recognized as a contractor engaged in the class of work provided for in the plans and specifications, and you must have sufficient resources to complete the work. Before being given bidding documents, you may be required to furnish evidence of your ability to do the work as specified.
Advertising for bids
The "Current letting information" page is where you can find the notice to bidders, special notices, and request for letting documents. You can also subscribe to several mailing lists there.
The Code of Iowa allows governmental agencies to provide sales tax exemptions on building materials. The notice to bidders also notes contractors do not have to pay sales tax on contracts bid through the Iowa DOT's Office of Contracts.
Most projects have detailed drawings of the work to be performed.
2. Cross sections
Large grading projects normally have cross sections that can be ordered to supplement the project plan.
3. Estimating proposal
The estimating proposal lists the contract period and schedule of prices. The supplemental specifications and special provisions that apply to the project(s) will be listed in the estimating proposal. The estimating proposal will also note if predetermined wages and/or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program goals apply to the contract.
4. Bidding proposal
The bidding proposal form is needed to submit a bid as a prime contractor. To obtain bidding proposals, submit the request along with a signed Certification of Uncompleted Work Under Contract form that lists all incomplete work under contract, both inside and outside of Iowa.
When the Office of Contracts receives your request, staff will analyze your bidding capacity. This is done by subtracting your incomplete contracts from your maximum qualification limit. This will give your bidding capacity for the upcoming letting. Your qualification limit can voluntarily be lowered prior to a letting.
You may join with another contractor to request to bid a project as a joint venture. Each of the contractors must be prequalified with the Iowa DOT. Your joint venture's bidding capacity will be the sum of each contractors' maximum qualification minus the sum of each contractors' incomplete contracts.
In a joint venture, a letter should be sent to the Iowa DOT's Office of Contracts requesting the joint venture and designating one contractor as the lead contractor. All contract documents will be sent to the lead contractor. For joint ventures, both contractors must sign the bidding proposal and bid bond.
When a request for bidding proposals is honored, the Office of Contracts gives the prospective bidder the green bidding document. The name and identification number of the bidder are placed on the bidding proposal by the Office of Contracts. Electronic preparation of the bid proposal is allowed, but must be done with the electronic bid system (Expedite) software furnished by the Office of Contracts. You should contact the Office of Contracts for more information about this software.
To be valid for bidding, the Proposal Schedule of Prices form included with the estimating proposal or a computer generated Expedite schedule of prices must be included with the bidding document.
Contractors may also be approved to submit bids electronically over the Internet. Bids for contracts greater than $1,000,000 must be submitted either with a diskette or over the Internet.
Other construction documents
- Standard specifications book
The Office of Support Services' 2009 Standard Specifications for Highway and Bridge Construction book is available from the Iowa DOT's office supplies section, at 515-239-1324.
- Standard Road Plans
The Standard Road Plans manual contains the standard drawings that are not reproduced in the plan. The standards that are designated on the plan are used for the contract. This book can be ordered from the Iowa DOT's office supplies section, at telephone 515-239-1324.
- Materials Instructional Memorandums
The Iowa DOT's Office of Materials Instructional Memorandums (IMs) contain specific information about the procedures concerning the acceptance of materials. The Materials IMs can be ordered from the Iowa DOT's office supplies section, at telephone 515-239-1324.
An email distribution is available for contractors and suppliers to receive all addenda.
You must submit a proposal guaranty in the amount listed on the proposal form. The proposal guarantees are returned by mail to all but the low bidder, and in some instances the second low bidder, after the awarding of the contract has been approved. The remaining proposal guarantees are returned when the signed contract is returned.
Contractors may submit an annual bid bond to cover any bids submitted during the life of their financial statement. A copy of the annual bid bond is in the Contractor’s Financial-Experience-Equipment Statement.
Publishing of potential bidders
Under the Iowa DOT's present policy, the list of contractors holding bidding documents is public starting two weeks prior to the letting. However, a written list will not be mailed or faxed. The information is available by telephoning the Office of Contracts and on the Internet at (bidx.com). If you, as a contractor, wish to remain anonymous prior to letting, you must make this request when you order bidding documents.
After opening, all bids are reviewed for accuracy prior to being read. If the bid is incomplete or irregular, the bid is not read and the reason that it is not read is given at the letting. This is followed up by a letter to the contractor explaining why the bid was not read. To help prevent you from submitting an incomplete bid, the bid envelope has a checklist to remind you to do such things as sign the proposal, enclose the proposal guarantee, bid all items, etc.
Award of contracts
A performance bond is required as specified in Article 1103.05 of the 2009 Standard Specifications for Highway and Bridge Construction book. The bond is to be at least 100 percent of the contract sum. The bond is held to cover all work included in the contract, whether performed by the prime or a subcontractor.
A current certificate of insurance must be on file with the Iowa DOT's Office of Finance before any contract can be awarded.
The total amount to be subcontracted may not exceed 70 percent of the contract amount unless a different percentage is designated on the proposal (Article 1108.01 of the 2009 Standard Specifications for Highway and Bridge Construction book.)
Summary of awarded contract prices
Tabulation of bids for Iowa DOT contracts are usually available one week after the bid opening. Bid tabulations for non-Iowa DOT contracts are posted one month after the bid opening.
EEO/AA policy requirements
Equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements to not discriminate, and affirmative action (AA) requirements to assure equal opportunity shall apply to all contractors (prime contractors and subcontractors) that have been awarded a contract or subcontract that equals or exceeds $10,000.
Each contractor shall have an EEO/AA policy approved by the Office of Employee Services prior to be awarded a contract. This EEO/AA policy shall be reviewed by the company and resubmitted each year.